World No.3 Karim Abdel Gawad knew he had to defeat World No.2 Ali Farag to keep his hopes of qualifying for the semi-finals of the CIB PSA Wold Tour Finals alive, and he did just that, overcoming his countryman in a deciding game.
Gawad had lost his opening Group A game against Peru’s Diego Elias, whereas Farag had the perfect start after dispatching Germany’s Simon Rösner in straight games on Monday night.
It was the ‘Baby-Faced Assassin’ who started the stronger of the two, not something he is renowned for. He raced into an early lead, and although Farag attempted a comeback which included saving three game balls, it was the 2016 World Champion that ran away with the game in the end.
The second was almost a complete reversal of the first, as it was Farag that started the stronger of the two, and posed home his advantage in the game, taking it 11-4. It was the World No.2 that then also went ahead in the third game, taking the first five points.
However, Gawad did not give up on the match, and was able to claw his way back into the game by showing some of his trademark skills. He eventually won the third 11-8 to secure the match, with the winning putting him back in contention to advance to the last four from Group A.
“It was very tough to play Ali. It was a tough match, and a deciding match for me. To continue battling for a semi-final place or to be out of the tournament. It is tough, there is a lot of pressure, but I think I played very very under that pressure,” Gawad explained.
“We all have experience. I have been on tour for 12 years and I have been under pressure a lot. My parents always told me to just play your best and to ignore the pressure. Winning or losing is all in your own hands, so that is a very good thing for parents to teach their kids. To never put pressure on yourself and to just play your best squash and never think about anything else than giving 100% on court.”
 Karim Abdel Gawad (EGY) bt  Ali Farag (EGY) 2-1: 11-8, 4-11, 11-8 (56m)